What's holding JD Davison back from playing for the Boston Celtics

For JD Davison to make the Boston Celtics roster, he needs to become much better in one key area.

Maine Celtics PG JD Davison scored a career high 38 points the against Greensboro Swarm.
Maine Celtics PG JD Davison scored a career high 38 points the against Greensboro Swarm. / Maddie Malhotra/GettyImages
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Back when Rajon Rondo was a guest at the Boston Celtics’ practices for several days, a thought crossed my mind: Rondo should mentor JD Davison to take the young point guard’s game to the next level.

Then the G-League season started. Davison began with 23 points, six rebounds, eleven assists and five turnovers against the Capital City Go-go. He followed that performance with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists with just two turnovers against the Westchester Knicks.

He remained hot in week two. 27 points, four boards, 12 assists and three turnovers and 22 points, four rebounds, eleven assists and two turnovers in a pair of wins over the Long Island Nets.

Davison then exploded for a career high 38 points, four rebounds, eight assists and four turnovers before coming down to earth for 15 points and sixes in rebounds, assists and turnovers in two wins against the Greensboro Swarm.

Oops.

Davison arguably had the best five game run of his G League career to start the season. Last year’s league leader in assists is dishing out 9.2 dimes, up from 7.7. His scoring is up by 12.5 points per game, he’s rebounding more, while his turnovers ticked up by just 0.5.

The 2022 second round pick appears to making the second year leap the Celtics want to see. With the parent club in good shape at point guard, Davison can focus on the Maine Celtics without undue pressure to get to Boston.

If Davison keeps playing well, he’ll improve his chances of graduating to the parent club. But he won’t get to Bean Town if he doesn’t significantly improve his accuracy.

For JD Davison to make on the Boston Celtics roster, he needs to become a much better shooter

The Davison selection was an odd pick at the time. The Celtics had Marcus Smart, Derrick White and Payton Pritchard at the position. Boston also has the rights to Yam Madar, who’s currently playing in Instanbul.

Davison was a developmental pick. He’s an excellent athlete still learning the position. If Davison can become a floor general, he has the potential to become an exciting and productive spark plug.

Davison showed good promise last season by leading the G League in assists. This year he exploded out of the gate. He’s third in scoring out of players with at least five games played, and again is leading the league in assists.

Rondo mentoring Davison might still be beneficial to JD, though Davison already has a great feel for running pick and rolls and sees the court better than expected.

Rondo probably can’t help Davison with his shooting, though. Davison’s field goal percentage is 44.8, down by almost five percentage points from last season. He’s scoring a lot, but he’s not efficient.

Davison’s field goal percentage by game has been .409, .391, .500, .500, .636, and .235. His 3-point shooting has been even worse. Only once has Davison connected on more than one attempt: 1-6, 1-5, 5-9, 1-3, 1-3, and 1-4. His .333 percentage this season doesn’t accurately reflect his actual performance.

Woof.

It’s not a good trend, but it’s nothing to worry about. This is Davison’s second year in the league. He left Alabama after his freshman year, so he’s raw. And the Maine Celtics are only six games into the season.

We are seeing why Davison is in the G League. The goal is for Davison to get plenty of playing time to work on his game. It’s working, as Davison made a positive leap in a handful of ways.

It’s just the shooting that’s lagging behind. The only way to get better is to get shots up in games.

If you want a reason to be optimistic, look no further than the Celtics’ Derrick White. He arrived in Boston with a reputation as a great defender, but a poor three-point shooter. White’s .381 percentage last season wasn’t a fluke, as he’s shooting .380 this season.

It’s going to be entertaining to monitor Davison’s development. If he continues to produce at this level, he could make the G League All-Star team for the first time.

And if his accuracy improves, Davison’s scoring will only go up. He’s done it in several categories to start the season. Davison can improve his accuracy as the season progresses.

Swish.